Colorado House Passes Controversial Semi-Automatic Weapon Ban

The Democratic-controlled Colorado House passed a controversial measure on Sunday to ban the sale and transfer of semi-automatic weapons despite strong objections from law-abiding gun owners. The bill which passed with a 35-27 vote now advances to the Senate where Democrats also hold a majority.

However the fate of the bill in the Senate is far from certain as a similar measure was torpedoed last year by the Democratic majority. If the bill clears legislative hurdles this time Colorado would join California in enacting such a ban continuing its trend of following the Golden State’s lead on gun control.

Despite Democratic control of the Senate and Governor’s office there may still be issues with Colorado becoming the 11th state to enact such a ban. The House is known to be more liberal than the Senate and Gov. Jared Polis previously expressed concerns over the sweeping nature of the measure.

In 2023 Democratic worries over government overreach led to the bill’s early demise in committee. Colorado has only recently shifted to the left and much of the constituency remains conservative with a strong allegiance to the Second Amendment.

The new majority pushed through a package of gun control bills in 2023 including a three-day waiting period raising the minimum age for purchasing any weapon from 18 to 21 expanding the existing red flag law and removing part of the liability shield from weapons manufacturers. However none of these measures drew the same level of ire from gun owners as the current proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

Opponents argue that the measure is misguided and that the focus should be on addressing the mental health crisis and people who have no regard for human life rather than erasing gun rights from law-abiding citizens. Some of the previously enacted measures have already been challenged in court.

As the bill moves to the Senate the fate of the controversial semi-automatic weapon ban remains uncertain. The measure has exposed deep divisions between those who prioritize gun control and those who staunchly defend Second Amendment rights in Colorado a state that has only recently shifted to the left politically.